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A sugar beet is a plant whose root contains a high concentration of sucrose and which is grown commercially for sugar production. In plant breeding it is known as the Altissima cultivar group of the common beet (Beta vulgaris).[1] Together with other beet cultivars, such as beetroot and chard, it belongs to the subspecies Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris. Its closest wild relative is the sea beet (Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima).[2]

In 2013, Russia, France, the United States, Germany, and Turkey were the world's five largest sugar beet producers.[3] In 2010–2011, North America and Europe did not produce enough sugar from sugar beets to meet overall demand for sugar and were all net importers of sugar.[4] The US harvested 1,004,600 acres (406,547 ha) of sugar beets in 2008.[5] In 2009, sugar beets accounted for 20% of the world's sugar production.[6]

Sugar beet molasses in France, used as cattle fodder supplement

An unrefined sugary syrup can be produced directly from sugar beet. This thick, dark syrup is produced by cooking shredded sugar beet for several hours, then pressing the resulting mash and concentrating the juice produced until it has a consistency similar to that of honey. No other ingredients are used. In Germany, particularly the Rhineland area, this sugar beet syrup (called Zuckerrüben-Sirup or Zapp in German) is used as a spread for sandwiches, as well as for sweetening sauces, cakes and desserts.

Commercially, if the syrup has a dextrose equivalency (DE) above 30, the product has to be hydrolyzed and converted to a high-fructose syrup, much like high-fructose corn syrup, or isoglucose syrup in the EU.

Many road authorities in North America use desugared beet molasses as de-icing or anti-icing products in winter control operations. The molasses can be used directly,&#

An unrefined sugary syrup is produced directly from the sugar beet. This thick, dark syrup is produced by cooking shredded sugar beet for several hours, then pressing the resulting mash and concentrating the juice produced until it has a consistency similar to that of honey and in the Czech Republic, beet sugar is used to make a rum-like distilled spirit all Czechs know as their rum, an alcoholic beverage called Tuzemák, formerly called Tuzemský rum (English: domestic rum).[45]

An unrefined sugary syrup can be produced directly from sugar beet. This thick, dark syrup is produced by cooking shredded sugar beet for several hours, then pressing the resulting mash and concentrating the juice produced until it has a consistency similar to that of honey. No other ingredients are used. In Germany, particularly the Rhineland area, this sugar beet syrup (called Zuckerrüben-Sirup or Zapp in German) is used as a spread for sandwiches, as well as for sweetening sauces, cakes and desserts.

Commercially, if the syrup has a dextrose equivalency (DE) above 30, the product has to be hydrolyzed and converted to a high-fructose syrup, much like high-fructose corn syrup, or isoglucose syrup in the EU.

Many road authorities in North America use desugared beet molasses as de-icing or anti-icing products in winter control operations. The molasses can be used directly,[46] combined with liquid chlorides and applied to road surfaces, or used to treat the salt spread on roads.dextrose equivalency (DE) above 30, the product has to be hydrolyzed and converted to a high-fructose syrup, much like high-fructose corn syrup, or isoglucose syrup in the EU.

Many road authorities in North America use desugared beet molasses as de-icing or anti-icing products in winter control operations. The molasses can be used directly,[46] combined with liquid chlorides and applied to road surfaces, or used to treat the salt spread on roads.[47] Molasses can be more advantageous than road salt alone because it reduces corrosion and lowers the freezing point of the salt-brine mix, so the de-icers remain effective at lower temperatures.[46] The addition of the liquid to rock salt has the additional benefits that it reduces the bounce and scatter of the rock salt, keeping it where it is needed, and reduces the activation time of the salt to begin the melting process.[47]

Betaine can be isolated from the byproducts of sugar beet processing. Production is chiefly through chromatographic separation, using techniques such as the "simulated moving bed".

Uridine

Uridine can be isolated from sugar beet.

Alternative fuelBP and Associated British Foods plan to use agricultural surpluses of sugar beet to produce biobutanol in East Anglia in the United Kingdom.

The feedstock-to-yield ratio for

The feedstock-to-yield ratio for sugarbeet is 56:9. Therefore, it takes 6.22 kg of sugar beet to produce 1 kg of ethanol (approximately 1.27 l at room temperature).

Sugar beets are an important part of a crop rotation cycle.

Sugar beet plants are susceptible to Rhizomania ("root madness"), which turns the bulbous tap root into many small roots, making the crop economically unprocessable. Strict controls are enforced in European countries to prevent the spread, but it is already present in some areas. It is also susceptible to both the beet leaf curl virus, which causes crinkling and stunting of the leaves and beet yellows virus.

Continual research looks for varieties with resistance, as well as increased sugar yield. Sugar beet breeding research in the United States is most prominently conducted at various USDA Agricultural Research Stations, including one in Fort Collins, Colorado, headed by Linda Hanson and Leonard Panella; one in Fargo,

Sugar beet plants are susceptible to Rhizomania ("root madness"), which turns the bulbous tap root into many small roots, making the crop economically unprocessable. Strict controls are enforced in European countries to prevent the spread, but it is already present in some areas. It is also susceptible to both the beet leaf curl virus, which causes crinkling and stunting of the leaves and beet yellows virus.

Continual research looks for varieties with resistance, as well as increased sugar yield. Sugar beet breeding research in the United States is most prominently conducted at various USDA Agricultural Research Stations, including one in Fort Collins, Colorado, headed by Linda Hanson and Leonard Panella; one in Fargo, North Dakota, headed by John Wieland; and one at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, headed by J. Mitchell McGrath.

Other economically important members of the subfamily Chenopodioideae:

In the United States, genetically modified sugar beets, engineered for resistance to glyphosate, a herbicide marketed as Roundup, were developed by Monsanto as a genetically modified crop. In 2005, the US Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) deregulated glyphosate-resistant sugar beets after it conducted an environmental assessment and determined glyphosate-resistant sugar beets were highly unlikely to become a plant pest.[48][49] Sugar from glyphosate-resistant sugar beets has been approved for human and animal consumption in multiple countries, but commercial production of biotech beets has been approved only in the United States and Canada. Studies have concluded the sugar from glyphosate-resistant sugar beets has the same nutritional value as sugar from conventional sugar beets.[50] After deregulation in 2005, glyphosate-resistant sugar beets were extensively adopted in the United States. About 95% of sugar beet acres in the US were planted with glyphosate-resistant seed in 2011.[51]

Weeds may be chemically controlled using glyphosate without harming the crop. After planting sugar beet seed, weeds emerge in fields and growers apply glyphosate to control them. Glyphosate is commonly used in field crops because it controls a broad spectrum of weed species[52] and has a low toxicity.[53] A study from the UK[54] suggests yields of genetically modified beet were

Weeds may be chemically controlled using glyphosate without harming the crop. After planting sugar beet seed, weeds emerge in fields and growers apply glyphosate to control them. Glyphosate is commonly used in field crops because it controls a broad spectrum of weed species[52] and has a low toxicity.[53] A study from the UK[54] suggests yields of genetically modified beet were greater than conventional, while another from the North Dakota State University extension service found lower yields.[55] The introduction of glyphosate-resistant sugar beets may contribute to the growing number of glyphosate-resistant weeds, so Monsanto has developed a program to encourage growers to use different herbicide modes of action to control their weeds.[56]

In 2008, the Center for Food Safety, the Sierra Club, the Organic Seed Alliance and High Mowing Seeds filed a lawsuit against USDA-APHIS regarding their decision to deregulate glyphosate-resistant sugar beets in 2005. The organizations expressed concerns regarding glyphosate-resistant sugar beets' ability to potentially cross-pollinate with conventional sugar beets.[57] U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White, US District Court for the Northern District of California, revoked the deregulation of glyphosate-resistant sugar beets and declared it unlawful for growers to plant glyphosate-resistant sugar beets in the spring of 2011.[57][58] Believing a sugar shortage would occur USDA-APHIS developed three options in the environmental assessment to address the concerns of environmentalists.[59] In 2011, a federal appeals court for the Northern district of California in San Francisco overturned the ruling.[50] In July 2012, after completing an environmental impact assessment and a plant pest risk assessment the USDA deregulated Monsanto's Roundup Ready sugar beets.[60]

The sugar beet genome has been sequenced and two reference genome sequences have already been generated.[61][62] The genome size of the sugar beet is approximately 731 Megabases, and sugar beet DNA is packaged in 18 metacentric chromosomes (2n=2x=18).[63] All sugar beet centromeres are made up of a single satellite DNA family[64] and centromere-specific LTR retrotransposons.[65] More than 60% of sugar beet's DNA is repetitive, mostly distributed in a dispersed way along the chromosomes.[66][67][68][69]

Crop wild beet populations (B. vulgaris ssp. maritima) have been sequenced as well, allowing for identification of the resistance gene Rz2 in the wild progenitor.[70] Rz2 confers resistance to rhizomania, commonly known as the sugar beet root madness disease.

Crop wild beet populations (B. vulgaris ssp. maritima) have been sequenced as well, allowing for identification of the resistance gene Rz2 in the wild progenitor.[70] Rz2 confers resistance to rhizomania, commonly known as the sugar beet root madness disease.